Although the coronavirus pandemic has stopped many aspects of society, unfortunately, elements of crime and exploitation continue to operate and take advantage of tens of thousands of people across the country.
Over 300,000 individuals are victims of human trafficking in Texas alone -- 70,000 are teens and children.
Because of this, Dallas-based nonprofit New Friends New Life is hosting a free, virtual 2020 Men's Breakfast presented by the Men's Advocacy Group on Monday at 8:30 a.m.
The annual fundraiser, traditionally hosted in-person, will be offered for free to the community and conducted virtually in light of COVID-19. Organizers said they couldn't cancel something that's needed now more than ever, as more people fall into vulnerable places due to the struggling economy.
“We’ve seen almost as many people up until now than we did in all of last year. And we’re expecting almost double the number of women and girls coming through our doors. So we need to continue to get the word out," said Matt Osborne, MAG Liaison to students at local Dallas-Fort Worth schools. "Although many things have been halted in the pandemic, sex trafficking has not. Child exploitation has not."
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Moderated by former Dallas Cowboy and MAG member, Tyler Clutts, the event aims to engage men in the fight to eradicate sex trafficking and exploitation, while also raising critical funds for New Friends New Life through a raffle.
The event will features former MLB first baseman and anti-human trafficking activist, Adam LaRoche.
According to NFNL, LaRoche advocates on behalf of women and girls who are and have been subjected to sex trafficking. After participating in an undercover rescue operation of child victims in Southeast Asia, LaRoche felt called to act. From that moment onward, he has devoted his time and efforts to address this cause. LaRoche retired from the MLB in 2016 after spending 12 years in the league and founded E3 Ranch & Co in 2017 with his wife, Jennifer.
The event is co-chaired by Bill Minick, MAG Board Member and Chairman of PartnerSource, and Zeke Fortenberry, MAG Member and Attorney at Fortenberry Firm, PLLC.
"We look forward to having this important conversation of how we can help restore and empower women and girls who have experienced the trauma of being trafficked or exploited," Fortenberry said.
The NFNL Men's Advocacy Group mobilizes men to take action against sex trafficking and exploitation by raising awareness through advocacy, education, and volunteerism. New Friends New Life works to support and restore victims of trafficking.